The UFC returned to the Fox Network platform for the final time in 2017 with a four fight main card headlined by a welterweight contenders bout between former divisional champion Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos, with the event emanating from Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Canada

The main card kicked off in the light heavyweight division, as top-ten-ranked contenders Misha Cirkunov(13-3, #7LHW) and Glover Teixeira(26-6, #3LHW) colliding, with Canadian Cirkunov the betting favourite over Brazilian Teixeira

Cirkunov got the better of the striking exchanges within the first two minutes and managed to land some good punches, however Teixeira was able to get a double underhook takedown and from there easily moved to take Cirkunov’s back, and from there landed multiple unanswered ground and pound punches on a flattened out Cirkunov before the referee stepped in and stopped the fight at 2:45 of the first round

A welterweight contest was next up, with Argentine Santiago Ponzinibbio(26-3, #10WW) and American Mike Perry(11-1) looking to take a step closer to 170lbs title contention, with the Argentinean fighter entering the fight as betting favourite

A bout that ended up going the distance, both fighters put on a remarkable display of toughness and durability as the bout consisted almost entirely of striking with the Argentinean and American taking lots of punishment and big shots to the face, resulting in both fighters sustaining bloodied face, particularly around the eye area

A compelling and fun fight, Ponzinibbio was able to land a spinning back-elbow in the third round that connected and dropped Perry though the American was able to recover, however Perry couldn’t stop Ponzinibbio’s takedowns in the final round, though he was able to make to the final bell as the bout went distance and all fifteen minutes

In the end Ponzinibbio got the victory via unanimous decision, which is his six consecutive win

Focus then shifted to the featherweight division as Ricardo Lamas(18-5, #3FW) faced Josh Emmett(12-1) with Lamas the heavy betting favourite to take the bout

It was a tentative first four-and-a-half minutes with neither competitor able to find an opening on the feet and neither fighter wanting to take the bout to the ground, however with 30 seconds left in the round Emmett was able to connect with a brutal left hook in an exchange that knocked out Lamas clean before he even hit the ground as Emmett scored the big upset win in devastating fashion, bagging the biggest win of his career

The main event pitted two welterweight contenders against each other, as former 170lbs champion Robbie Lawler(28-11-1NC, #2WW) took on fast-rising Brazilian former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos(27-9, #4WW) with the winner taking a huge step towards title contention

A fun and entertaining bout that went all five rounds, dos Anjos employed a brilliant strategy that consisted of landing hard outside leg kicks early in the fight while also somewhat surprisingly getting the better of the punching exchanges, and from there dos Anjos won all five rounds 10-9, with Lawler never really coming close to affecting his opponent in any of the rounds as the Brazilian scored the unanimous decision victory and took a big step towards a 170lbs title shot next time out

By Matthew Singh-Dosanjh